Worlds into

In their own words, Arika “organise experimental music, film and art events” and are “involved in practices that could variously be described as DIY, experimental, underground or autonomous”. It’s appropriate to quote them as we haven’t come across people that are as careful with words and their meaning as Arika’s Barry and Bryony.

An Arika event is often a platform to investigate artistic, scientific and social practices that raise questions about the human condition. It may sound generic but it’s hard to find a better way to describe it, but it’s important to add that Arika is also interested in the struggles and breakthroughs of individuals and groups that are pushed to the margins of society. Ranging from a neuroscientist who questions the existence of the self to the use of the body as political instrument in Vogue dancing, Arika’s events are at the same time inclusive and challenging.


Boychild, Episode 5

When we first started working together the events were grouped in a series of episodes, each with its own theme. A quick, if unfairly simplistic, summary reads as:

Episode 1 – A Film is a Statement
The politics of cinematic language

Episode 2 – A Special Form of Darkness
The role of pessimism and horror in art and performance

Episode 3 – Copying Without Copying
The practice of re-enactment in art

Episode 4 – Freedom is a Constant Struggle
Black radical poetry, free jazz and improvisation

Episode 5 – Hidden in Plain Sight
Voguing, drag, clubbing and gender politics

Episode 6 – Make a Way Out of No Way
Queer and Black communities

Episode 7 – We Can’t Live Without our Lives
Care, disability and the human body

These episodes took place over a period of 3 years, and branched out into other traveling events taking place in New York and Los Angeles. The summary is useful as an indication of the breadth of their interests but also as a starting point to discuss the graphic work we produced for each of them.


1/6Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, Episode 5


2/6Wadsworth Jarrell and band, Episode 3


3/6Keiji Haino, Episode 2


4/6Anthony McCall and Andrew Tyndall, Episode 1


5/6Dawn Kasper, Episode 2


6/6Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, Episode 1

The communication of the events is based on two main pieces: a poster and a brochure. This stripped-down approach works very well because each piece has a defined role, and one complements the other. The posters make full use of Arika’s excellent titles and render them as slogan-like messages spread across Glasgow. It’s meant to occupy the same social space as a t-shirt message, a bumper sticker, or a grafitti on the wall.


Episode 7


To produce the posters and brochures we have to first translate Arika’s ideas and themes into one graphic image. This task is at the same time immensely challenging and rewarding. The challenge is in the distillation of something multi-faceted, complex, and sometimes abstract into a flat, one-dimensional artwork.


Episode 5

On top of that, it’s not only words that have meanings, but also colours, shapes and alignments. It’s difficult to remember other clients where the act of placing an object to the left, right, top or bottom of another carries so much significance. Or to navigate the multitude of queer significations in colour tones, or what politics are implied in a rectangular shape versus a round one, or an open one versus a closed one.


Episode 4


Because it’s Arika’s carefully chosen words that are being signified, the final images are usually born out of a debate where we are constantly being asked questions and returning other questions as reply. It’s unlikely the posters will be able to represent the entirety of an idea, so we choose one aspect that seems more representative or particular and run with it, as long as that visual representation is true to event and its participants.


Episode 1


The brochures offer context and propose questions that gravitate around the subject of each event. They are a space where Arika can gradually introduce their ideas and provoke some reflection on the reader. We say gradually because the pace of this publication resulted from a deliberate effort to try and convey Barry’s and Bryony’s words on paper as interestingly as they sound in person.


Moreover, we are aware that when people pick up a free advertisement brochure, they are not subscribing to a thought-provoking moment. We know that the debates and emotions triggered by the event will be in a controlled environment, a dark room with air conditioning and stage lighting, where your whole attention is directed towards that experience. The brochure tries to bridge that chasm and create room for thought to exist.


Arika booklet series


Arika sometimes take the opportunity of having invited artists together in Glasgow to throw a party. These club nights are open to the general public, and require a bit of promotion on their own. The posters are based on the Episode’s identity, giving them a nice visual complement.


Episode 6 Club Poster


1/2Episode 6 and Club Night posters


2/2Episode 5 and Club Night posters

Finally, a word on the typeface. Given that the communication relies heavily on the written word, it’s important to have a recognisable type that guarantees continuity between the different episodes.


It’s also important that the type relates to Arika, as it can be seen on the imperfect junctions that were left exposed. The condensed body is designed to help us fitting text into the portrait format of the posters and brochure covers.